Sunshine Boys


Posted August 12, 2008 (9:30 am)

 
  Jock Sanders

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Both are listed at 5-feet-8 inches tall. Both hail from the state of Florida. And, chances are when leaves are done falling from the trees and snowflakes begin to float to the ground they’ll be the top two rushers on this season’s West Virginia football team who don’t happen to be a quarterback named White.

Truth is after a full week of practice Noel Devine and Jock Sanders are clearly the best two options to rush the football. Newcomers like Terence Kerns and Zach Hulce are still in the process of making the transition for what we’ll call “Big Boy Football.” It doesn’t matter how fast you run or how hard you worked in the off-season, there is simply no way to simulate the move to the next level. Keep in mind, it took Steve Slaton about half of his first season before “he got it” and Steve was a fast learner.

So get ready for West Virginia’s version of the Sunshine Boys for at least the first month of the season. Both Devine and Sanders are wonderful at making plays in the open field and on the perimeter. However, there will be times when the Mountaineers will face that short yardage situation where a battering ram is needed. Exactly who that will be is still unclear.

Maxwell Anderson has been injured and true freshman Ryan Clarke is just that - a true freshman that hasn’t had the luxury of reshaping his body just yet. As Bill Stewart said last week, Clarke is going to be real good but right now he’d been paying the additional baggage fee on most major airlines.

***

In no specific order here are some random thoughts after watching, talking, and thinking about Mountaineer football in the last week …

  • The defensive line really needs Pat Liebig to be granted the additional year.

  • The first week of practice is exciting because it marks the return of football, but a team really comes together and is refined in week two and three of the preseason.

  • Six-foot-four-inch true freshman free safety Robert Sands is about to become the biggest free safety in school history. Even better, he can play.

     
      Brandon Hogan

  • Brandon Hogan’s conversion to cornerback happened so fast I still can’t believe it happened. It went from “we’ll give him a try there” to “he’s battling for a starting job.” All that took place in about half the time of the average in-game instant replay review.

  • The guys installing the new videoboard and ribbon board system around the stadium have a lot of work to do in the less than three weeks.

  • At some point this season, Pat McAfee will break Todd Sauerbrun’s school record with a punt longer than 90 yards. I really can’t say for sure if that will happen but I have to find a way to get Pat into each column. Seriously though, Pat tells me he had a wonderful summer learning more about the art of kicking and has been blasting punts and field goals during practice.

  • Can you believe it’s been 16 years since James Jett earned a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Barcelona? Jett ran the anchor leg in the 4 X 100 meter relay preliminary heat in place of Carl Lewis, who was tending to other matters on the track. I’m still not sure why James didn’t receive more notoriety for that performance. We in sports give a lot of more love to others for much smaller accomplishments.



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